2 weeks from now I'm giving a talk How to Grow Your Open Source Project 10x and Revenues 5x at OSCON (in Portland, Oregon). It is based on the article with the same title I published last year. The talk is scheduled to end a one day sub-track called IT Leaders Summit. I'm glad it is categorized as a business talk rather than community talk - things I write usually are problematic in that I typically cover both business and community and see them mostly as harmonious topics, whereas most other people see them as opposites.
There was a guy on TV (and unfortunately I've forgotten his name) who does crisis management and peace negotiations. You know, mediating when two countries or tribes have been at war. At the opening of peace negotiations he would usually tell the following story:
In November a Mark Schonewille posted a blog on when you can't and cannot use the GPL version of MySQL together with your closed source application. The post was a result of actually talking to an Oracle lawyer which makes it valuable information. Unfortunately Mark's blog is now offline (it seems he didn't renew his domain registration?)
This is just a repost of the disappeared blog post. (The small print allows me to copy it verbatim.) There is no commentary from myself, except that what Mark wrote is the same I also heard Oracle say a year ago. That Oracle is being consistent on this point is very welcome and deserves to be kept available online.
Update 2011-06-23: Mark comments that his blog is still online, but at a new address: https://qery.us/tl
Some time ago I was asked to do a study of our most popular open source projects to assess 1) what governance models are out there and 2) if the governance model has any effect on the project's success (such as size of developer community) on the one hand and on the other hand on the business of the related vendor(s). Some of the results are quite remarkable and have general applicability, so I wanted to share them here:
(Small updates done on 2011-07-14. OpenJDK size clarified on 2012-05-21.)
On Saturday I wrote a review about 451 Groups excellent report on commercial adoption of open source, "Control and Community". There was one more thought inspired by the report I thought I'd better blog separately as it is kind of R-rated:
"Continuing to maintain the right balance of functionality between the freely downloadable open core and the commercial extensions is both art and science. It's critical to get that right so the model continues to grow and advance."
The 451 Group's annual report on the state of the open source business world is out. Already the title: Control and Community suggests they are once again on top of what has been going on this year. Analyzing about 300 open source related businesses they not only "get it right", but were actually able to uncover some facts even I was unaware of and this impressed me a lot. If an analyst can dig up statistics to back up something that I already "intuitively" know in my heart, that is a useful service. But if they can make me go "ah, I didn't know that" on a topic I consider myself quite an expert in, the I'm impressed!
This is an analyst report, available for a price that would be completely unreasonable for a private person. I was pondering whether I should go begging for a free copy to satisfy my curiosity on the topic. But that wasn't necessary, as the next day I was offered a copy by Matthew Aslett himself:
Links for today:
Andy Updegrove makes observations of the trend in hosting Open Source projects in non-profit foundations rather than one company, much boosted by Oracle's acquisition and abandonment of Sun's software assets.
Knowing that an organization is “safe” to join, and will be managed for the benefit of the many and not of the privileged few, is one of the key attributes and assurances of “openness.”
While back on the Open Core topic anyway, a few notes on how 3 projects have reacted to the debate and criticism of the past Summer.
I personally work mostly in the middleware layer of things, especially databases, so I'm most familiar with the open core practices of MySQL, SugarCRM, JasperSoft and others in this space. So when LWN reported on the open core backlash last Summer, it was the first time I learned that a syslog utility known as Syslog-ng also follows this model. A basic syslog functionality is free and open source software, and there is a commercial version that comes with closed source addons. They have a contributor agreement of course, to make it work.
Except that they have now tweaked their model as follows:
I will be speaking on Tuesday at the ProActum OpenMeetup in Pub Angleterre, Helsinki. (Drinks sponsored by Novell.) The title is "Open Core - What is an open source business model and what isn't? And who cares?".
A bit unusual for this kind of meetup, but I actually summarized my talk into 3 slides, which I will share as printouts with the audience.
I decided to label Open Core as a "Wannabe" business model, meaning that these products want to label themselves as open source while they are not.
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